Insights from a systems view: how modelling can inform reform
Vanclay, JK 2007, 'Insights from a systems view: how modelling can inform reform', in SR Harrison, A Bosch & JL Herbohn (eds), Improving the triple bottom line returns from small-scale forestry: Proceedings from an International Conference, Ormoc, the Philippines, 18-21 June, University of Queensland, Gatton, Qld., pp. 367-374.
Participatory modelling is one of several techniques that can help communities to share and test ideas, and to agree on the ‘best bet’ for improving the triple bottom line for individuals and for the community. Two case studies from Africa illustrate how participatory modelling can assist in this way, by informing communities, by providing an objective way to conduct ‘risk-free’ experiments and explore scenarios, and by helping people to gain the confidence needed to make changes. Progress towards a better triple bottom line often depends on having the confidence to take action, and modelling is one of several techniques that can help to build this confidence. The resulting model is not an endpoint, but a disposable ‘stepping stone’ in the developing this confidence. Thus for many models, success means being momentarily inspirational in the search for solutions, rather than being a permanent monument to a static concept.